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Action Research
Approaches to
Teaching and Learning
Session 1
What is action research?
Carried out by teacher(s).
In his/her own class.
With his/her own students.
To improve some aspect of learning/teaching.
Action Research
What is Action Research?
‘It is done by systematically collecting data on
your everyday practice and analysing it in
order to come to some decisions about what
your future practice should be.’
(Wallace, 1998:4)
Features of Action Research
Contextualised, small-scale and local
 Evaluative and reflective
 Aims to bring about change
 Changes are based on the collection of data
which provides impetus for change
 Cyclical.
(Adapted from Burns, 1999:30)

How to do Action Research
Develop a plan of critically informed action to
improve what is already happening
 Act to implement the plan
 Observe the effects of critically informed action on
the context in which it occurs and
 Reflect on the effects as the basis for future
planning.
(Kemmis and McTaggart, 1988:10, cited in Burns,
1999:32)

Processes of Doing Action Research
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
Exploring
Identifying
Planning
Collecting data
Analysing/reflecting
Hypothesising/speculating
Intervening
Observing
Reporting
Writing
Presenting
Action Research
PAIR WORK
1.
2.
3.
What do you understand by the term ‘Action
Research’?
What stages can be involved in an Action
Research project?
Why is Action Research often represented
as cyclical?
An Action Research Project
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
‘The students aren’t using enough English in class’.
Recording and observing several lessons.
Reading about TL use in books and journals.
I think I, the teacher, use too much L1 and this
encourages students to use L1 too.
Decide to use TL at start of class, to organise
activities and at the end of class for a week.
Record and observe the lessons.
Analyse the data.
Write up findings in an assignment.
Another issue
My students don’t seem to understand what I
ask them to do in class.
How can I improve this aspect of my practice?
Group Task
What steps would you need to take in an Action
Research project to address this issue?
Problems with doing Action Research
‘What disadvantages are there in being
involved in an action research project?
Time, time, time, time, time, time,
time…What are the major problems in
doing research and teaching? Time,
time, time…’
(Burns A. 1999:47)
How can I manage my time?
‘The early advice of other project
members was invaluable – namely, to
narrow my area of inquiry’.
(Anne Fowler, cited in Burns (1999:45).
Action Research Projects by MA
students




Improving elicitation moves.
Developing multimedia in the classroom.
Turning feedback into talking opportunities.
Investigating the effect of different reading
activities on the engagement of learners.
Reference List


Johnston, R.. 2002. “Addressing the age factor:
some implications for language policy”. Council of
Europe. Available at
http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Source/Johnstone
EN.pdf
Robinson, P..1997. “State of the Art: SLA Research
and Second Language Teaching”. The Language
Teacher Online 21/7. Available at http://jaltpublications.org/tlt/files/97/jul/robinson.html